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Opinion

  • Twelve trillion bottles of beer on the wall, 12 trillion bottles of beer. You take one down and toss it around and before you know it, you’ll see 13 trillion bottles up there!  No, no, no, I shouldn’t use beer in this analogy.  The last thing I would ever want to do is bad mouth beer.  

  • The national spotlight is on Arizona for doing what the federal government and previous Gov. Napolitano refused to do: rein in an invasion of illegal aliens bankrupting Arizona.  At an August 2009 healthcare town hall in Phoenix, legislators said that more than half of Arizona’s $4 billion budget deficit was the result of paying for three areas of services to illegal immigrants: education, healthcare and incarceration.  

    What does illegal immigration have to do with your costs and your access to medical care when you need it?  

  • When I got the news about Israel’s armed attack on the Gaza Flotilla at 2:30 a.m. May 31, I felt sick. I immediately called a friend in Jerusalem, one of the most committed activists I know. 

    Across the ocean, I could hear in her voice that she was in tears. “The worst part about it,” she said, “is that nothing will change.”

    “No,” I replied. “I can’t believe that can be true.  Things have to change.”

    “Well,” she said, “then it is up to you, the internationals.”

  • It has been my observation over the last several years that the barking dog issue is, at best, difficult to address. This is primarily because many (if not the majority) of dog owners are oblivious to the fact that their dogs bark — and/or believe that it is their right to let them bark at anything (or nothing), any time of the day … “for protection.” There is even one person in our neighborhood that drives around in a pick-up, with his dog constantly barking all the way — setting off most of the others along the way. How insensitive can one be?

  • SANTA FE — New Mexico followed the national trend of tossing out the old in favor of the new in the recent primary elections. Doña Ana County Republicans will present a fresh face to the rest of the state in the person of Susana Martinez for governor.

    Martinez has been district attorney in the county for some 13 years but not known much in the rest of New Mexico despite the efforts of state party leaders who wanted to entice her into running for state offices years ago.

  • Stories about butterflies are legion. There are scientific stories like the phenomenal 2,500-mile migration of some Monarch butterflies. The butterfly is often seen as a symbol of the soul (and indeed the Greek word for butterfly is “psyche”).

  • That off-shore calamity that erupted in the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles south of Louisiana has demonstrated anew humankind’s capacity for self-deception.

    Start with all those expressions of shock and dismay emanating from off-shore drilling enthusiasts and their political agents that such a thing could come to pass. Who’d-a thought!?

    My guess is that even such erstwhile boosters as the now-chronically agitated Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal knew deep down all along that not only could such a catastrophe occur but that it inevitably would.  

  • On May 27 in the Monitor, a commentary by Jeffry Gardner referred to President Obama as traitorous due to rhetorical remarks the President made in a welcoming statement to Mexican President Calderón at the White House. The president said in remarks, “In the 21st century, we are not defined by our borders, but by our bonds.” The president was talking about the increasing interdependence of nations, not inviting Mexican nationals across the U.S. border. Mr.

  • The recent attempted car bombing in New York City by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen who was born and raised in Pakistan, reveals the susceptibility of this country to acts of terrorism.

    Although the explosive devices planted in New York City did not work, this event serves to point out that New York City continues to be a target for terrorism. Other cities could be potential targets for Taliban and al Qaida terrorists emanating from Middle East countries or by a minority of U.S. citizens with loyalties to these groups.

  • Back when I worked at Bell Labs, we brought in a candidate for an opening on our database team.  Upon reviewing his resume, I couldn’t understand why my interview team had selected him for an interview. The guy had no relevant experience and his degree was in chemistry, not computer science. Well, it turns out that he had put “Klingon” on his resume as a foreign language in which he was fluent.  (Klingons are a warrior race in the 24th century, kind of a cross between an iguana and Dick Cheney).  

  • The immediate attention of the next governor and, therefore, the attention of the general election candidates, should focus on a number: $236 million. That’s the difference between forecast general fund revenue for the next budget year, fiscal 2012, and the amount needed to maintain current service levels. (The general fund is the principal source of money for state government.)

    The $236 million figure was unveiled May 20 by Tom Clifford, chief economist for the Legislative Finance Committee. Clifford spoke to a conference held by the New Mexico Tax Research Institute.

  • If you like eating hotcakes or bread (or my own personal favorite, huckleberry muffins), you might want to pay attention to a problem that’s looming over wheat worldwide. It’s a new type of “stem rust” caused by a fungus that cripples wheat plants.

    Throughout history, stem rusts have created major famines. Even in the United States, wheat harvests in parts of the country were hit hard by stem rust in 1903, 1905 and 1950-1954. Localized outbreaks affected American wheat as recently as 1985-1986.  

  • Environmental progress begins at the confluence of applied science and political science. The more we know about each one and the mixture the faster the progress.

         In what ways do applied science and politics differ? What happens when they come together?

         The two paths of endeavor diverge by as little as word meanings. The end results are amazingly far apart.

  • I just had an amazing time hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail located on the east coast. In the past I have hiked sections of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDT) and others across the U.S. As I reflect upon my recent experience, memories of my youth return from the times I adventured into vast forests and feeling overwhelmed when sighting wildlife, hearing bubbling brooks, admiring the exotic beauty of wildflowers, and picking delicious wild berries.

  • This intangible thing we call freedom is interpreted differently by just about every individual, but one aspect that’s not open for debate is that we enjoy freedom because of the sacrifices made by countless men and women of our armed forces. We must never question that freedom is worth fighting for, and dying for. That very concept was the genesis of the United States of America.

  • New Mexico’s primary elections are just two days away, and if you haven’t voted already make it a point to go to the polls and cast your ballot Tuesday. Despite the fact that this is being billed as a highly-charged political year when voters are expected to oust incumbents across the county, a pollster in New Mexico is betting the voter turnout in the Land of Enchantment will be low.

  • Editor’s Note: This article was first published by The Center for Vision & Values on Nov. 6, 2009.

    Every Memorial Day presents an opportunity to commemorate those who served in some faraway place long ago, many of whom paid that ultimate sacrifice. World War II offers its share of remembrances: Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941; Normandy, June 6, 1944; the Battle of the Bulge, Dec. 16, 1944; to name a few.

    Sadly, however, one series of battles continues to be ignored.

  • Two years ago in their choice of place for preprimary conventions, New Mexico’s Democrats and Republicans suggested widely contrasting visions of the future. For the vast majority not worried about such events, the conventions gather party and candidate faithful. Candidates receiving at least 20 percent of the delegate vote get on the ballot for the June primary election. Candidates with less than 20 percent must gather additional petition signatures to get on the ballot.

  • Twenty-five years ago I spent my summers beside sulfur-belching hot springs in northern California. The hot springs were not as big as Yellowstone’s. Most were just a few feet across, one or two about a dozen feet wide. None of them were truly boiling, but they were hot to the touch and gases bubbled vigorously out of them.

    To add to the general ambience of roasting sulfur, air temperatures in that part of California each July and August are in the 100-degree range, and in addition to sulfur, the hot springs carried a lot of mercury, arsenic and other toxic metals.

  • Christie Kelly’s letter reminds me of that old expression “you can’t make an omelet unless you break a few eggs.” Diamond Drive, like much of Los Alamos’ Cold War era infrastructure, is old, dilapidated, and badly in need of repair. As the only arterial serving much of our community, its upgrade will not be done without considerable impact to transportation and people’s lives, as there will never be a convenient time to do the work.